Today was Family Day so we spent the day working and sharing a meal with a family at their Kenyan home. These are small farms which are remarkably self-sufficient and grow crops year round.
Our group split up to visit three different families. The teams were Robyn and Frank, Dori and Jeff, and Meghan, Brian, and Tim. Since we roughly did similar chores in each home, I will describe the jobs as one experience.
The first chore we started was shucking the corn cobs with our fingers. Mkamba corn kernels are drier and larger than our corn in US. We then went to mash the corn in a large mortar and pestle type instrument. This softened the corn before boiling with beans. After boiling, onions and seasoning are added to make the dish called "githeri," a staple of their diet.
Our group then had the honor of making rope with the family. We took leaves from a yucca-type plant and slid it through two large knife blades protruding from a tree. This shredded the leaves into strands of fiber which the family braids tightly to make clothesline and rope for tying animals. Like anything it takes practice to achieve good tight braids. All Mkambe children learn how to make rope, according to the family. They are remarkably responsible and eager to help out.
While we did these chores we noticed that everywhere we went there were little kids, hens, and chicks. The chicks would walk between our legs while we sat and worked. There was a kind of natural harmony between the adults, little ones, and chickens. The chickens even roost in the house at night, the family told us.
The team took a break to have lunch and then returned to make chai tea with milk. The milk had been taken from a cow that morning and boiled for purification. We also made chapati, the unleavened bread of Africa, cooked on a Kenyan charcoal grill. Then we went into the house and had fellowship, a worship service, and ate (again)! Some of the families had members who were sick, and our team prayed over them. Our group had an emotionally ill young woman who joined us. During the prayer service, we saw that she was noticeably moved. Afterwards, she was very joyful.
Being around the Kenyans with their beautiful singing and dancing makes us feel rather less talented in that aspect. Even though we listen to much music, we usually don't practice specific songs. We tried to learn the song "He Reigns," which is sung at Nativity, though we secretly hoped we wouldn't be called upon to sing. But God has a sense of humor, and one of our groups was asked to sing. We all looked at each other with our hearts dropping to our stomachs. Do we remember the words? Do we remember the tune? Finally we decided to do the chorus six times, with the song sounding progressively better with each chorus. Whew, let's hope we don't get asked again!
We are sure you all sounded wonderful! Please keep the prayers going for our amazing missionaries! Let them know we are thinking about them in the comments!